Monday, September 29, 2014

Mossy Oak's "Deer Thugs" visits Rolling Plains Adventures.



Mossy Oak Productions visited Rolling Plains Adventures last week to film a bow hunting episode for their TV show "Deer Thugs."  The crew rolled in to film the outfitter "Jeremy Doan" and one of their hunters "Jimmy Riley." 

The Hunt was set up for 6 evening hunts and 5 morning hunts.  The first evening sit, Jimmy was the only hunter on stand due to one of the camera man not making his flight on time.  Jeremy just scouted this night, but did manage to film the deer that came by while scouting.  Here is an image of one of the bucks Jeremy filmed that came in to about 10 yards of the truck!

Day 2 started with a morning hunt with only seeing a few does.  Later on that day, Jeremy got into his stand with camera man Joe at around 4:30 PM.  It started slow, but picked up real fast when a small buck appeared at 150 yards around 6:45 PM.  About 5 minutes passed when another buck appeared in the brush with him.  Then another buck!  The bucks started to beeline straight for us from 150 yards.  The one leading the group was a 5 1/2 year old mature 10 point followed by about a 4 1/2 8 point with matching stickers of the G2's.  The 10 point slowly made his way in to about 17 yards.  Jeremy drew back his PSE Pro bow and made a perfect shot through the lungs.  The deer ran about 70 yards and it was all over.  The buck scored close to 150"s. 

Day 3, 4, and 5 seemed to blur together.  Seen plenty of shooter bucks, but all just out of range. 

Day 6, the final day of the hunt.  It is now the last hunt of the trip, so planning is very crucial.   Jeremy checked all of the deer cameras that afternoon and placed Jimmy in a stand that had one buck coming in 2 nights in a row between 8:45 and 8:20.  Camera shooting light is over at about 8:20, but this was the best chance we had.  Jimmy had been sitting in the stand for a couple hours when the buck appeared at 8:15 PM.  He came in early!  The deer walked by the stand at about 15 yards when Jimmy let his arrow fly.  The deer ran about 75 yards into the most dense crop cover on the ranch.  The buck was recovered shortly after and was a perfect 10 point. 

These were 2 filmed hunts, so be on the lookout next summer for Rolling Plains Adventures episode on Mossy Oak's "Deer Thugs."

Friday, August 8, 2014

2014 Small Game and Furbearer Regulations Set

 

North Dakota’s 2014 small game and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year.
One change for this year is that trappers using cable devices (snares) must now register with the State Game and Fish Department prior to trapping (online registration will be available on this website mid-October).
Prairie chicken and sage grouse seasons will remain closed due to low populations.
Only North Dakota residents are permitted to hunt waterfowl from Sept. 27 – Oct. 3. Nonresidents are allowed to hunt waterfowl in North Dakota beginning Oct. 4. Other waterfowl season details will be finalized in mid-August in the waterfowl amendment to the small game and furbearer proclamation.
In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from Oct. 11-17.
Hunters may notice an increase in license fees, which were established and set by the 2013 state legislature. The general game and habitat license is $20, the resident small game license – required for ages 16 and older – is $10, the resident furbearer license – required for ages 16 and older – is $15, and the resident combination license, which includes general game and habitat, small game, furbearer and fishing, is $50.
In addition, the nonresident small game license, and the nonresident zoned waterfowl license, increased to $100. The nonresident statewide waterfowl license is $150.
Hunters should refer to the North Dakota 2014-15 Small Game and Furbearer guides (available mid-August) for more details on small game and furbearer seasons. Waterfowl regulations will be available in early September.

 SpeciesOpensClosesDaily LimitPoss Limit
Crows (fall)
 
Aug. 9Oct. 26No limitNo limit
Early Canada Goose
 
Aug. 15Sept. 15 (Sept. 7 Missouri River Zone)1545
Mountain lion zone 1 early (zone quota 14)
 
Aug. 29Nov. 23 (or when zone quota is reached)Season limit of 1 per hunter 
Mountain lion zone 1 late
(zone quota 7)
 
Nov. 24March 31 (or when zone quota is reached)Season limit of 1 per hunter 
Mountain lion zone 2
 
Aug. 29March 31Season limit of 1 per hunter 
Doves
 
Sept. 1Nov. 91545
Hungarian partridge
 
Sept. 13Jan. 4312
Sharp-tailed grouse
 
Sept. 13Jan. 4312
Ruffed grouse
 
Sept. 13Jan. 4312
Tree squirrelsSept. 13Jan. 4412
 
Sandhill crane unit 1
 
Sept. 20Nov. 1639
Sandhill crane unit 2
 
Sept. 20Nov. 1626
Snipe
 
Sept. 20Dec. 7824
Woodcock
 
Sept. 27Nov. 1039
Tundra swan
 
Oct. 4Jan. 4Season limit of 1 per hunter
 
 
Pheasants
 
Oct. 11Jan. 4312
Weasel trapping
 
Oct. 25March 15  
Mink, Muskrat trappingOct. 25April 30
 
  
Fisher trapping
 
Nov. 24Nov. 30Season limit of 1 per trapper 
 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spring Breeding Duck Numbers Tallied

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 4.9 million birds, up 23 percent from last year and 110 percent above the long-term average (1948-2013).
Mike Szymanski, waterfowl biologist, said all species increased from their 2013 estimates, except canvasbacks (down 7.9 percent, but still 41 percent above long-term) and ruddy ducks (down 1.2 percent). Redheads (+64 percent), green-winged teal (+42 percent), blue-winged teal (+34 percent), wigeon (+33 percent) and scaup (+28 percent) showed the largest increases. Mallards and blue-wings were the most abundant ducks on the survey, combining for 48 percent of the total.
“Some of the later nesting dabbling duck species, such as blue-wings and shovelers, were just settling into breeding areas so their counts may have been biased slightly high this year, simply because of a cold spring and their migration lagging behind other birds,” Szymanski said. “Mallards, an early nesting species, were well into nesting and settled on breeding areas. Diving ducks pushed through the state well ahead of the survey, so we feel good about those numbers.”
Duck numbers during the last two decades are the highest since survey records began in 1948. Szymanski said abundant water and good nesting cover have kept breeding duck numbers high. “It’s pretty amazing to see the top 20 breeding duck indices have all come in the past 20 years,” he added. “We had Conservation Reserve Program acres on the landscape, and then water came in a big way. It’s safe to say we are still riding abundant populations stemming from near perfect conditions. It’s hard to say how they will fair in the future now that a large portion of their nesting cover has disappeared through CRP expirations.”
The spring water index increased 110 percent from 2013. The water index is based on basins with water, and does not necessarily represent the amount of water contained in wetlands or the type of wetlands represented.
“This year’s water index was strongly influenced by small ephemeral waters and an abundance of ditches with water,” Szymanski said. “Water conditions were good in most wetlands that ducks will use for brood rearing.”
Szymanski said water was more abundant in the northwest and northeast portions of the state. In addition, he said western North Dakota was wetter than average.
“Breeding conditions on the prairies can always change in a hurry,” Szymanski said. “Last year, conditions were looking OK when we conducted the survey, but there was some question as to whether it would dry out prior to brood rearing. Then several inches of rain fell and wetlands used for brood rearing improved. This year, conditions are looking better in those wetlands, but a hot and dry spell could change that.”
The loss of CRP acres was evident during the survey, Szymanski said, as large stretches of land conversion to cropland were obvious. “The loss of grass will hurt production of ducks and other grassland nesting birds,” he added. “However, the recent overly wet conditions are helping bridge the gap a little bit for ducks.”
Szymanski said having a lot of pairs present in May is a good thing. However, the July brood survey will provide a better idea of duck production and insight into expectations for this fall.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rolling Plains Adventures - New Ranch Addition



 
Taking you on a short tour of a new addition to Rolling Plains Adventures.  This new land adds so much habitat to hunt on for deer, pheasants, coyotes, and waterfowl.  This is some of the most scenic grounds to hunt on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

North Dakota Spring Pheasant Count Tops Last Year

   

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is up slightly from last year, according to the State Game and Fish Department’s 2014 spring crowing count survey.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor, said the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up about 6 percent statewide from 2013, with increases ranging from about 2 to 9 percent depending on the region.
While the spring number is a positive indicator, Kohn said it does not predict what North Dakota’s fall population will look like. Brood surveys, which begin in mid-July and are completed by September, provide a much better estimate of summer pheasant production and what hunters might expect for a fall pheasant population.
Last year, the fall population was down from 2012 because of rather poor production, but Kohn said low winter pheasant mortality, particularly in the southern one-third of the state, helped boost this year’s spring count.
Another positive is that abundant moisture has provided for good habitat conditions heading into the prime nesting period. However, Kohn noted that since 2008, North Dakota has lost more than 2 million acres of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands, much of it in the pheasant range. That means total nesting habitat in the state is significantly reduced from where it was when the spring crowing count index peaked in 2008.
The 2014 index is down about one-third from that peak. “Loss of CRP acres continue to reduce the amount of nesting and brood-rearing habitat on the landscape,” Kohn emphasized. “This and other grassland conversion is going to negatively affect our pheasant population in the future.”
Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring throughout North Dakota. Observers drive specified 20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals, and counting the number of pheasant roosters heard crowing over a two-minute period during the stop.
The number of pheasant crows heard is compared to previous years’ data, providing a trend summary.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 Pheasant Hunting Season Outlook

It is now mid June in North Dakota and the first groups of baby pheasants are starting to show.  We counted close to 10-12 chicks with each hen so far!  This is great news because it proves that the hens are healthy and strong from his past winter. 

Most areas throughout North Dakota received very cold winter weather and plenty of snow this past year.  At Rolling Plains Adventures, we had the cold weather, but we hardly received any snowfall.  The birds had plenty of food and cover to make it through and now are proving to be very productive.  These are all wild birds, so they can thrive in harsh conditions.  We are seeing strong numbers of hens and roosters on the roads each day....more then we have seen the past two years during nesting season. 
 
If the weather stays warm with just the right amounts of rainfall, this year could be a very strong year for pheasants at the ranch. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pheasant Hunting Tips and Strategies

 

 
Taken from www.flikr.com (lostinfog)
 

CHOOSING A HUNTING LOCATION

  • Get A Map
A good map that displays the public recreational land for your state is essential. Many states will have the ability to find public hunting grounds online through their Department of Natural Resources or other department that manages the state's hunting and fishing activities. Although these maps are generally sufficient, I find the Topographic Atlases sold at Outdoor Sports Stores such as Cabela's easier and quicker to use. These maps help you locate public land you may not have even been aware of, and provide you with enough detail to find them. Many times have I used the regular state highway map thinking I knew exactly how to get to a spot only to waste time trying to figure out which little dirt road to take.
  • Examine Covertypes and Surrounding Land
There are many qualities to consider. Some of the information about a section of land can be gathered using the topographic map, or by using the satellite images on Google Maps. It may be difficult to know for sure how good the cover is until you actually either scout it preseason or hunt it during season. The land should have plenty of very thick cover including such cover as tall prairie grasses, creek bottoms, or sloughs. Also note whether all cover sections are truly huntable. Reasons why a section might not be huntable are: it is too close to a building, highway, or live stock; it is unreachable due to a river or other natural barrier; it is within a city limit or restricted zone. Also keep track of the private lands that surround each public land tract. Choose places that have crops (preferably harvested) on the adjacent lands. You can guarantee pheasants will be there if there is a good combination of food and cover (as opposed to grazing lands). When you hunt, focus on those areas of cover that are closest to the neighboring croplands. Pheasants will eat in the morning and evening, and use the adjacent cover for hiding between meals.
  • Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hunting Location: Weather Conditions, Hunting Party Size, and Popularity
Weather Conditions:Remember when the weather gets especially cold or snowy pheasants will go to the thickest cover available. Although it is more physically strenuous hunting the extremely thick cover, the birds will be more concentrated when the weather gets rough.
Hunting Party Size:Consider the size of the land you are hunting and whether or not you have enough hunters to adequately cover it. If you are hunting alone, you may want to concentrate on areas with small sloughs or river bottoms.
Popularity: Some hunting lands are extremely overrun with hunters. Some are crowed because they are close to a city, and some are crowed because they have the qualities of a good pheasant spot. I personally do better by avoiding these places. If you choose to hunt a popular spot, focus on those areas of the land that may be avoided by other hunters. Examples are areas that require extra energy to hunt (extremely thick cover) or areas more remote from the likely parking spot.
 

PHEASANT HUNTING EQUIPMENT

Everybody has their own personal style, and their own preferences regarding hunting. I am going to do my best to give the newcomer an idea of what hunting equipment they should have to begin pheasant hunting, but these are really just suggestions. Here are my recommendations:
  • Comfortable, weather appropriate clothing
  • "Brush proof" pants
  • Blaze orange vest and hat
  • Waterproof, high quality hunting boots
  • Shotgun with a modified choke tube
  • Shotgun Shells (I suggest no lower than 4, no higher than 6)
Comfortable clothes are a must for pheasant hunting. You may end up walking several miles, and some of the time through heavy cover. Your clothes should allow free movement, but also be just warm enough to keep you comfortable. I also recommend buying a pair of pants made of material that is specifically designed to protect your legs against brush, thorns, and other rough vegetation (most hunting stores will have pants with the front legs made from this material). Finding the pheasants requires you being willing to walk through some tough cover, without these pants, you will be less willing to hunt some areas. Blaze orange material is necessary by law to hunt pheasants, but also a must for safe hunting. Remember Dick Cheney's mishap, use blaze orange. Many hunters overlook the need for a good pair of boots. A good pair of boots will keep your feet warm and dry while walking through wet ground, and help prevent injuries from unseen holes and uneven ground. Finally, most people use a modified choke and medium shot size because the range of the shots will generally vary from very close to far.
        

GENERAL HUNTING STRATEGIES

ssuming you've followed my advice about choosing a good location, you should be well on your way to finding some pheasants. Below are strategies for increasing your chances of flushing some birds. Your best bet is to wait until the crops surrounding the area you are hunting have been harvested. There will be fewer pheasants hanging out in the cover when there are standing crops available.
Walking the Cover
  • A major error I see from new hunters is the tendency to walk too fast when hunting pheasants. If you walk too fast, you will likely walk by several pheasants that are hiding and hoping you will walk right on by. Walking slowly also gives your dog(s) enough time to fully work all the ground for scent.
  • Starting on one end of the cover, spread your hunters about 20-30 yards apart (the thicker the cover, the closer together). Typically, your aim is to push the pheasants toward a natural break in the cover such as a bare/picked field or a body of water. Roosters that are running ahead of you are more apt to fly once their cover ends. Generally, the best method is to walk in a zig zag pattern to help prevent pheasants from slipping through the space. If you are walking something that requires walking in a straight line, 20-30 feet between hunters is more appropriate.
  • If there isn't a natural break in the cover, start where the cover is the lightest and work toward the thickest cover. Then work the thick cover very slowly and thoroughly. Those pheasants already in the thick cover will likely stay there to hide, and you may have pushed a few pheasants from the lighter cover into hiding in the thick stuff.

Using A Dog

The use of a dog cannot be understated when it comes to pheasant hunting. They have an ability to track and find a pheasant that is incomparable to a human. Only the young and dumb roosters flush in response to hunters walking by. Most will run or hide, and you will not see them. A dog can smell and force the hiding birds into the air. I prefer a pointer. My pointer has pointed hundreds of birds I would have walked by. When they point, it gives you a chance to walk right up to the bird and prepare for a shot. The other advantage is in finding a downed bird. Wounded birds will often run several hundred yards before succumbing to their wounds. Even a bird that is shot dead in the air can be difficult for a hunter to find without a dog.
  • Try to hunt into the wind when using a dog, this will give them an advantage in finding the birds.
  • Train your dog well, a dog that runs 100 yards ahead of you chasing a pheasant isn't helpful, and you may find your hunting partners become very annoyed at this.
  • I recommend buying a vest specifically designed for protecting your dog's underbelly. Thorns and rough cover can tear their bellies up, and the blaze orange can help you see your dog better in the field.

Lets go fishing!